Midseason Replacement

The fan campaign was an amazing success! For those that didn’t know, I haven’t posted a blog for two months because my blog was put on hiatus. The WordPress network wanted to give their new fall blogs a chance, so I got pushed off the schedule. But the legion of devoted fat-to-fit-with-music fans would not stand it. They wrote impassioned emails, staged sit-ins, threatened sponsor boycotts, wore their FTFWM apparel in signs of solidarity and finally had their voices heard, particularly when a number of the new blogs failed to get big ratings.

That’s the story and I am sticking with it…plus it makes so much more sense than I got lazy first on the writing front and second on the exercise front, right? So it’s great to be back–while gone, I finished up the D’s, so today’s gym visit featured some music early in the E-starting section.

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

3.40 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Earth Angel–Death Cab for Cutie
  • Earth Stopped Cold at Dawn–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • Ease Off the Liquor–Timbaland
  • Easier To Walk Away–Elton John
  • East Jesus Nowhere–Green Day
  • East Northumberland High–Miley Cyrus
  • East of Eden–Lone Justice
  • East St. Louis Toodle-oo–Steely Dan
  • Easy–Barenaked Ladies
  • Easy Money–Billy Joel
  • Easy Money–Bruce Springsteen
  • Easy on Yourself–Drive-by Truckers
  • Easy Silence–Dixie Chicks
  • Easy Skanking–Bob Marley
  • Easy There, Steady Now–Richard Thompson

What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a 50’s cover from my favorite obscure soundtrack! I’m fairly certain that I’ve shared the tale of my Stubbs the Zombie album, but as a quick recap–I was at a partner meeting at my last job and they took us into their sample closet and let us do some free shopping. There I found a single copy of the soundtrack to a video game I’d never heard of, but I was interested to hear what Death Cab for Cutie and the Dandy Warhols would do with rock ‘n roll standards, so it was the only item I took. It has been in heavy rotation ever since (and we’ll get to it later, but my favorite number comes from an artist that I did not know before, Clem Snide–although the Flaming Lips track is pretty good too.

I am not as familiar with the Hootie numbers from their second album, but I enjoyed today’s selection. All three of my kids are taking substance abuse classes this year in high school, and I think Timbaland’s “Ease Off the Liquor” would be an excellent addition to the syllabus. It is great advice, after all–and maybe the kids would listen to a music star like him as opposed to a teacher. Elton John followed with a deeper cut off his box set, and that was followed by a more recent track from Green Day, one that would have been from their most recent album until they released the 3 CDs of Uno-Dos-Tre in the past few month. While I admire the creativity of Green Day’s album-releasing strategy, it makes me sad as I lament the loss of the double (or in this case) triple album. Remember Sandinista by the Clash? These days, there seems like there’s no way a triple album like that will be released.

The packrat in me really needs to let up so I can remove some of the Disneyish music from our collection that I believe our children would no longer miss. I don’t mean to denigrate Miss Miley Cyrus, and I’d probably keep some of her hits, but the deep album cuts are not something I’d miss. If I got rid of any Lone Justice, I would miss them–they are another one of those bands that I tend to ignore, but really enjoy when I take the time to listen to them. My directional section ended with the long instrumental number from Steely Dan, one that reminds us how rarely you hear the term “toodle-oo” these days.

The list gets “Easy”, starting with old friends the Barenaked Ladies. I believe the Billy Joel song “Easy Money” is from the movie of the same name starring the late, great Rodney Dangerfield (in an acting stretch, Dangerfield plays a goofy slob who runs afoul of uptight rich people). The Springsteen version of “Easy Money” comes from his most recent album, and it’s a candidate for my “Best of 2012” mix CD, which I am in the process of creating.

The next two songs come from two of the musical acts I have been most excited to add to my rotation in the last seven years. I’m sorry that Shonna Tucker has left Drive-By Truckers, as I enjoyed her vocal additions to the band. But if I want country-themed music driven by strong women, I can always put on the Dixie Chicks. “Easy Silence” is from their (to-date) last album, Taking the Long Way. It’s a great album and I highly recommend it. Bob Marley followed and taught me that “skank” can be part of a gerund (Who Knew!) and my list closed with Fran-favorite Richard Thompson.

 

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Back in Business (at least the blog business)

Been a few days since I last updated the blog, as I got sidetracked helping a friend out with a project. But I can’t ignore my public any longer, particularly with my list of songs continuing to backlog. (While I didn’t blog over the weekend, I did get to the gym both days, so the list continues!) So today’ list will blow through the week (or at least the Monday through Thursday portion) of 7/30 through 8/2, which featured a pair ofT gym visits sandwiched around hosting Indiana in-laws. The visit was great–everyone had a relaxed, fun time, so I didn’t mind missing the workouts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

3.10 miles at the gym on the elliptical machine:

  • Cotton Alley–10,000 Maniacs
  • Cough Syrup–Young the Giant
  • Could I’ve Been So Blind–The Black Crowes
  • Could It Be Magic–Barry Manilow
  • Could You Be Love–Bob Marley
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4–Elvis Costello
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4 [live]–Elvis Costello
  • Counterfeit Fake–They Might Be Giants
  • Countin’ On A Miracle–Bruce Springsteen
  • Counting Airplanes–Train
  • Country Comfort–Elton John

Monday began with a selection from 10,000 Maniacs (sort-of) first album. (I know they released Secrets of the I Ching first, but I tend to ignore that album, and I’d argue they do as well, seeing that they re-recorded three of the songs for inclusion on The Wishing Chair.) Things get a little more recent and trendy with “Cough Syrup”, although I dodged a bullet when I only had to hear the original and not the Glee cover. I then got to hear a song from the debut album of the Black Crowes. I’ll admit that for Black Crowes, one album is more than enough for me. I think I’m supposed to like the Black Crowes more, but they’re a group that a little goes a long way in my musical sentiments. That sentiment is also true for both of the next artists as well, although there aren’t many other reasons to group Manilow and Marly.

My next four songs come from three of the family’s most represented artists, starting with studio and live versions of an Elvis Costello number. I am trying to wrap my mind around the title of the They Might Be Giants’ song–is a “Counterfeit Fake” the genuine article? The only thing that might have improved the title was adding the Elvis Costello flair and calling it “Couterfeit Fake No. 4”. My trio of familiarity ends with the Boss and a song from “The Rising”. That’s not to say I’m not familiar with Train or Elton John–I just don’t own the same large percentage of their musical catalogue.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

3.33 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-body weight work at the gym

  • Country Comforts–Rod Stewart
  • Country Darkness–Elvis Costello
  • Country Feedback–R.E.M.
  • Country Girl: Whisky Boot Hill/Down, Down/Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Cousins–Vampire Weekend
  • The Coventry Carol–Alison Moyet
  • Cover Me–Bruce Springsteen
  • Coward Of The County–Kenny Rogers
  • Cowboy Killers–The Wonder Years
  • Cowboy Romance–Natalie Merchant
  • Cowboy Take Me Away–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowboy Take Me Away [live]–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowtown–They Might Be Giants
  • Coyotes–Jason Mraz
  • Crab–Weezer
  • Crackin’ Up–Paul McCartney
  • Crackity Jones–Pixies
  • Cracklin’ Rosie–Neil Diamond
  • Crank It Up–WWE

I closed the previous section talking about owning a percentage of an established act’s collected works, and my Rod Stewart ownership calculation would be tiny–1 over however many albums he’s released. And again, one is more than enough for me–Rod’s a .0001 on the Simple Minds Scale, particularly once he decided to subject the aural population to his interpretations of “The Great American Songbook”.  I think I’d be far more impressed with him delivering the Great Scottish Songbook. I also made particular mention of three artists in the last section that are significant parts of our library, and as if they wanted to further the point, each shows up again on this list, starting with Elvis Costello. The Bruce and TMBG songs that follow are more familiar to me, as the Springsteen song comes from the first album of his I ever purchased (Born in the USA) and the They Might Be Giants’ number is from their second album, Lincoln.

After an R.E.M. song, I get a visit from CSNY and the appearance of  one of the 70’s more pretentious musical trends–the long songs with multiple parts (popularized by Yes, but then taken to new heights by Rush with songs having multiple parts that straddled different albums). You don’t see that as much these days. That’s not to say artists aren’t self important–they just express it in other manners (Thanks social media!). As I’ve mentioned before, but each Vampire Weekend song I hear mixes my enjoyment of their music and my anticipation of their upcoming third album, which I’ve heard is releasing before the end of the year. The end of the year would have been a better time to hear the Alison Moyet song, but when you listen to an entire list alphabetically, Christmas comes year round!

Do you ever think about memory–specifically, what stays in your mind and what you’ve forgotten? I ask because when I was a child, we didn’t listen to a lot of music, but one album (actually, 8-track to be precise) that received heavy rotation  was my mother’s Kenny Rogers album (one of his many greatest hits collection). Now I’m not the biggest fan of Rogers, but his story songs were easy to follow to be sure. Now, here it is, decades later and when a song like “Coward of the County” comes up (one I can honestly say that I haven’t heard for years), and I can sing along with it, remembering all the lyrics. I just have to wonder what important dates, facts, or issues have been pushed out of my brain so that “Promise me son, not to do the things I’ve done” can stick around. Moving on, it seems fitting that a Kenny Rogers song would serve as prologue for my “Cowboy…” section of songs, although truth be told, if I’m thinking about artists doing songs about the profession, the Wonder Years and Natalie Merchant do not come to top of mind. Dixie Chicks? They make more sense.

Not a lot to add about the Jason Mraz and Weezer that follow, and the Paul McCartney number almost shouldn’t count as a song–it’s more of a 45 second sorbet from his live album. Now getting a Pixies song is always a treat, particularly when I close the list with Neil Diamond and WWE.

 

Would the real Matt Nathanson please stand up?

This week continues an excellent run of consecutive gym appearances. Lost in this streak is walks to commemorate Red Sox victories–as of this writing, I think I am 6-7 victory marches in the hole. I plan to rectify that oversight next week. Even without my promised bonus walks I am extremely happy with my level of exercise these last few weeks, and I’m back in a place where if I don’t get out and get moving, I’m angry with myself–quite the 180 from the usual sluggish “take an act of Congress to get me moving” Dean. Let’s cover three days of exercise lists in this entry:

Monday, July 23, 2012

3.20 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Colossal–Wolfmother
  • Coma–Guns N’ Roses
  • Come & Talk to Met (Radio Edit)–Jodeci
  • Come and Get Me–Timbaland featuring Tony Yayo & 50 Cent
  • Come Around (featuring Timbaland)–M.I.A.
  • Come As You Are–Nirvana
  • Come As You Are [live]–Nirvana
  • Come Back–Foo Fighters
  • Come Back Around–Feeder
  • Come Back Baby–Elton John
  • Come Back to Me–Janet Jackson
  • Come Crash–A.C. Newman

Wolfmother was another band that I knew nothing about until I heard their “Joke & The Thief” track in the Rock Band series. They’re still not a group I’d choose to listen to on most days, but their metal tracks do inspire me while I’m trying to exercise. That’s also true about the music of Guns N’ Roses, a band I do occasionally choose to listen to (and plan on putting on when I am finished with this entry). The Jodeci song is from one of my many compilation albums. If my list were like the Oscars, Timbaland would be a double nominee with Lead Performer on “Come and Get Me” and Supporting Male on the M.I.A. song “Come Around”. I obviously am a fan of Timbaland, but I enjoy the second song more because of M.I.A.

There are worse things in life than getting a double shot of Nirvana, particularly a studio/live combo of anything off Nevermind and Live in Reading. If you haven’t heard the latter (I’m kind of assuming that everyone has at least listened to, if not a proud owner of, the former), do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Always a bit fitting when Dave Grohl’s band the Foo Fighters comes after Nirvana. “Come Back Around” is yet another song (and by extension, band) to be introduced to me via soundtrack, specifically, the American Wedding compilation. I’m not sure if it puts me in the mood to own more Feeder–any Feeder fans out there willing to argue the group’s cause? As for Elton John, I’d argue I have the perfect amount of his music–a 4-disc boxed set I purchased while in college.

Monday’s list closed with a Janet Jackson number from Rhythm Nation 1814. (It was amazing that the album managed to produce *7* top 10 hits, including “Come Back to Me”), and a track from A.C. Newman, who I love, but would guess will not produce 7 top 10 hits in his entire career, even if you include the New Pornographers (which is a shame).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3.10 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Come Dancing–The Kinks
  • Come Dancing [live]–The Kinks
  • Come Go With Me–The Beach Boys
  • Come Monday–Jimmy Buffett
  • Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)–Bruce Springsteen
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Get Higher–Matt Nathanson
  • Come On Home–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Come On, Come In–Velvet Revolver
  • Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)–The Offspring
  • Come Sail Away–Styx
  • Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)–Hairspray Cast
  • Come Together–The Beatles

The opening two tracks for Tuesday’s exercise are my studio and live versions of the Kink’s “Come Dancing”, the song that first got me into the group, and seeing how awesome their earlier work is, makes that song an important and beloved touchstone in my musical education. Plus it’s a great story song that is fun to sing along with whenever it plays. The next two songs are appropriate summer numbers from the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett. The Springsteen number is a previously unreleased track from his Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, which leads into my first-ever “favorite song” Dexy’s Midnight Runners only US hit, “Come on Eileen”. I didn’t really listen to music until I was 14, when I started listening to popular radio. “Come on Eileen” started rising up the charts, and it was my first go-to radio song.

So I’m listening to “Come On Get Higher”, a song my daughter purchased on iTunes a few years back and I find I’m really enjoying the song, but I don’t know the name of the artist. When I look him up, I see that he’s also the singer of “Laid” from the third American Pie movie, American Reunion. I couldn’t believe the two songs came from the same artist (although it made a bit more sense when I learned that “Laid” was originally a James song and things made a bit more sense. We actually have a third Matt Nathanson song, a cover of a Muppets’ number “I Hope that Something Better Comes Along” from The Green Album. I have to hand it to Nathanson, able to create such different tunes and styles is quite a feat. (To be honest, the three songs I own could be the outliers–for all I know, all his other songs may sound the same,)

The hits keep “Coming…” (Ha! Get it? Anyone? Is this thing on?) with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Velvet Revolver, which I’m pretty sure was a common double bill for summer concerts tours.  Next up was a favorite of my kids (and admittedly, me as well), The Offspring and a classic 80s band, Styx. My youngest daughter added the Hairspray number to the collection, but the comparison to the next song, “Come Together”, made the Fab Four’s number even sweeter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Come Together–The Beatles
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • The Comedians–Elvis Costello
  • Comfortably Numb -[live]–Pink Floyd
  • Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider [live]–Carly Simon
  • Coming Back to You–Martin Gore
  • Coming Back to You–Trisha Yearwood
  • Coming Clean–Green Day
  • Coming Home for Christmas–Kristy Starling
  • Coming Up–Paul McCartney

Just as Tuesday’s list ended with an Abbey Road classic, Wednesday’s set began with the same song, this one from the compilation album. It’s a double double as two copies of the Duran Duran song “Come Undone” comes next, followed by an Elvis Costello number. Hearing my one copy of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd reminds me of one of the major holes in my record collection–we do not own The Wall. (it’s tough to admit, so I just need to think what Jack Black’s character Barry said in High Fidelity to the shopper that didn’t own a copy of Blonde on Blonde–it’s going to be ok). We will have to rectify the Floyd oversight at some point, however. After Pink Floyd live, I got another live number, this time from Carly Simon, a mashup of her hit “Coming Around Again” and the children’s song “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.

We own two covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Coming Back to You”, which led into Green Day and a nondescript Christmas carol. Things closed with a third live song in this list, one by Paul McCartney. I actually don’t think I’ve ever heard the studio version of “Coming Up”, but that’s not an oversight I need to correct as quickly as The Wall.

 

Who wants to go to Wurttemburg?

Here’s a sneak preview of this, the last full week of June. Not only did I go to the gym every day from Monday through Saturday (and twice on Friday!), but my twins have expressed an interest in getting fit as well, so six of my visits (every visit since Monday night) has been me with a guest (hence the two visits on Friday, as I can only bring one guest at a time, so I went twice to accommodate both of them). The good is that it’s allowing me to fly through my list, but I really need to get music discussing here! The other good is that not only are my kids getting into exercise, but having them want to go is adding inspiration to my exercise effort.

Monday, June 25, 2012

2.5 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Careful What You Pack–They Might Be Giants
  • Careless Talk–Billy Joel
  • Carey–Joni Mitchell
  • Carla Etude [Live]–Elton John
  • Carmen–Paula Cole
  • Carnival–Natalie Merchant
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Birds–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Cuckoo in the Woods–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Finale–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Fossils–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Introduction and Royal March–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: Kangaroos–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: The Aquarium–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: The Elephant–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra
  • The Carnival of the Animals: The Swan–Wurttemburg Chamber Orchestra

This blog is really starting to invade my subconscious. Last night I dreamed about writing this particular blog entry, and in my sleep had worked out an incredible paragraph talking about “Careful What You Pack”. I don’t know about you, but when you have a brand new idea or insight about an existing idea or project while you’re sleeping, it can go one of three ways when you wake up. The first (and far and away the best) scenario has you awaken, remember your excellent dream thinking, and use to launch or improve your idea. Some times when you wake up, the thinking has already started to fade and is lost to you. That stinks, but it’s almost preferable to the last option–waking up, remembering the idea, realizing how stupid it is, and getting mad with how excited you were about the idea. I was going to write a witty entry about how different the song would be if the word “what” was replaced with other interrogative pronouns, comparing “Careful Where You Pack”, “Careful Why You Pack”, “Careful When You Pack” and so on. Some times I think sleeping is like being drunk–ideas that seem so incredible just do not hold up to the harsh light of sobriety or morning.

The next five songs fall into two categories, with two coming from piano-driven enduring rock superstars, and the other three from powerful female vocalists. Ironically, the two songs can be further grouped as they are each not exactly indicative of the artist’s body of work. “Careless Talk” comes from Billy Joel’s 1950’s themed An Innocent Man album and the Elton John song is an instrumental piece (one of my favorite instrumental pieces) and perhaps served as a sneak preview of the run of lyric-less selections to come. The three girl power songs come from Joni Mitchell (no doubt a role model for the other two), Paula Cole, and Natalie Merchant. Now of the three, I enjoy Natalie Merchant’s total body of work the most (thanks to her 10,000 Maniacs works), but when it comes to the individual albums that spawned these selections, I enjoy Paula Cole’s This Fire.

The bulk of my musical accompaniment in this gym session was classical selections from a children’s CD that we must have received from a family member when our kids were at the toddler age. Now I may not have properly appreciated the tracks because they were re-arranged into alphabetical order instead of the original order of the suite. Or perhaps I couldn’t truly appreciate the flow because only 9 of the 14 of the pieces in the total suite were included (according to Wikipedia, I’m missing out on the wild asses, the tortoises, the swan, and more), or maybe I’m just not in the mood to listen to classical music when I am working out.

Musical Candy and Commentary everybody wants

Nice to see the Red Sox reeling off some victories these days that have forced me to add two-mile walks to my daily routines, so that on days when I don’t get to the gym, I still get out and do something. It was particularly important this past weekend after I took Friday off from exercising and had to eat out twice in a row. I know what you’re thinking–“Had to? Right…” but it’s true. As I continue to look for work, I have applied for managerial work at Plan B Burger, an outstanding Burger, Beer, and Bourbon chain here in Connecticut (but coming soon to DC and Boston), and as part of the application process, I had to eat at two locations. I was so excited to do so that I ate both lunch and dinner at the chain Friday. I highly recommend Plan B–their burgers are outstanding, and everything else I’ve tried on the menu has been a distinct treat as well. In particular, you should get the Disco Fries–french fries covered in cheese and gravy (probably not the best thing to discuss in an exercise column, but treating yourself every once in a while is important in life, right?).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #36 of the 2012 season

  • Can’t Stand It–Wilco
  • Can’t Stand Losing You–The Police
  • Can’t Stop–Maroon 5
  • Can’t Stop the Rain–Cascada
  • Can’t Stop This Thing We Started–Bryan Adams
  • Can’t Take It–The All-American Rejects
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You–Lauryn Hill
  • Can’t Tell Me Nothing–Kanye West
  • Canadian Idiot–“Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Canajoharie–They Might Be Giants
  • Canary in a Coalmine–The Police
  • Canceled Check–Beck
  • Candle in the Wind–Elton John
  • A Candlelit Dinner with Inamorta–Asking Alexandria
  • Candles–Hey Monday
  • Candles–Glee
  • Candy–Jackson Brown
  • Candy–The Presidents of the United States
  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs

I mentioned recently that Wilco’s collaboration with Billy Bragg was when I first became interested in the band, and that initial spark grew when I started listening to my wife’s copy of Summerteeth. I enjoyed the album enough that I bought the next Wilco album, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, on its release, which turned out to be an excellent decision, if I do say so myself. But “Can’t Stand It” is from the previous album, and while I love the song, I do understand why it wasn’t a mainstream hit for the band, despite their record label’s best efforts. During this walk I would get two different early Police songs, with the first, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, being the bigger hit of the two, but as I get older in life, I’m finding myself enjoying the less-known “Canary in a Cole Mine” more.

I hit a run of pop hits starting with Maroon 5. One thing I’ve noticed about Maroon 5 songs is that they all sound like hit singles even if they were never released as singles. The Cascada song was a hit single, but one my kids enjoyed more than me. The last pop hit in the run was from Bryan Adams. In the 80’s I was a big fan pf the Canadian superstar, but as he released later albums, I was less interested in the songs. I think this was equal parts of my musical interests changing and Adams’ music getting a little more soft rock than it had been. The All-American Rejects broke me out of my top 40 run with an album cut from their breakout album “Move Along”. By the way, if you get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend them. In fact, they are the last act I’ve seen in concert.

While I enjoy Lauryn Hill’s version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (she gives it, like all her songs, an ethereal soulful quality), I still can’t hear the song without thinking of Heath Ledger’s performance of the song in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, a teen romance version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, (see, learning the classics can be fun), which gives the song a sad edge. Kanye ends the “Can’t…” portion of my list with “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, which is such a great song that I’m willing to overlook the double negative.

Things take a turn for the humorous and offbeat with a Weird Al parody of Green Day, and a They Might Be Giants song, “Canajoharie”, which I thought at first was a made-up name, but is in reality a town in New York. The Beck song reminded me of how much I like listening to Beck and that I let too much time go between album plays for the group. I’m glad the only version of “Candle in the Wind” that we own is the original version–I found the newer version tweaked for Princess Di a little bit tacky. I got to hear another Asking Alexanderia song (still not a fan), followed by original and Glee versions of “Candles”.

Three versions of “Candy…” songs closed the list, and each approached a different take on the subject. The Jackson Browne version is about a woman named Candy, while the Presidents of the United States are singing about literal candy. 10,000 Maniacs sings about metaphorical candy in their song (television), which was even better when the Kinks did it a decade earlier in “Give the People What They Want”.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #37 of the 2012 season

  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [live]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [single version]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Floss-Wilco
  • Candy’s Boy–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Crazysloth
  • Cannibal Resource–Dirty Projectors
  • Cannonball-The Breeders
  • Cannonball–Supertramp
  • The Cap’n–They Might Be Giants
  • Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa–Vampire Weekend
  • Capri–Colbie Caillat
  • Captain Jack–Billy Joel
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Carbon Monoxide–CAKE
  • The Card Cheat–The Clash
  • Careful–Paramore

After closing the Saturday walking session with the unplugged version of “Candy Everybody Wants”, I opened with three more versions of the song, including the album cut, a live version that includes Michael Stipe from a CD single for “Few and Far Between”, and the version from its own CD single. Hearing this song three more times reminded me just how much I loved 10,000 Maniacs in college and the first few years out of school. Seeing that I got into the Talking Heads to impress a girl, I feel like 10,000 Maniacs were the first band I discovered without radio airplay for me. And that run of In My Tribe, Blind Man’s Zoo, Our Time in Eden, and Unplugged was just spectacular. The other amazing aspect of their run was the CD singles, particularly those mentioned earlier. I’d buy them even though I owned the album with the hit because there’d be three other songs with each, such as the group’s cover of “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” or their version of “Let the Mystery Be” done with guest David Byrne. I don’t seem to see releases like that any more.

I got another Summerteeth track from Wilco, and it helped me learn that candy floss is a synonym for cotton candy. My run of “Candy…” ended in symmetry as I got a final group of songs about “Candy…” that referred to a woman with that name. The first was from the Bruce Springsteen album The Promise, and was an earlier version of what would eventually become “Candy’s Room”, which we also own a cover version from the Light of Day album. After a Dirty Projectors number, I got to hear two different, yet both highly entertaining songs with the title “Cannonball”. If forced to pick, I’d choose the Breeders version, but I’d have no problem listening to the Supertramp song as well.  Things take a turn for the awesome with one of my favorite more recent They Might Be Giants songs and another travelogue from Vampire Weekend’s first album.

Colbie Caillet led into an early Billy Joel hit, “Captain Jack” (see how smart They Might Be Giants were to name their track “The Cap’n” so theirs came before “Captain Jack”!) Excellent close to my workout list with Suzanne Vega getting me hungry for dessert, a hunger that grew when I realized my next song was performed by CAKE–so tasty they should be in all capital letters. Any time you get a song from London Calling, one of the greatest albums of the Rock era, is a good time, and I also enjoyed the track from Paramore to close the weekend’s work.

 

6 miles at a blistering pace with a stop for boiled goose

Finally got caught up on Red Sox walks the last two days–my preference is always to walk outside but we’ve had consistent and frustrating rain for most of the beginning of this week, so Tuesday night I was able to get some treadmill time in at the gym before I had to race my daughter home for the third season finale of Glee (you may not have been able to tell she was a big fan if you ignored the clue that we own about 300 songs from the show). Then yesterday finally saw the much-needed break in the rain that allowed some extended outside walking. By the way, no need to call Guinness about the title–it referred to the blister I got from walking too much in a single day. But don’t worry about me–I’ll soldier on, and I’m only needing to walk 2 miles for yesterday’s Red Sox victory.

May 22-23, 2012

6+ miles treadmill/neighborhood walking to commemorate Red Sox victories #19, #20, and #21 of the 2012 season

  • Body to Body–Miami Sound Machine
  • Bogie’s Bonnie Belle–Richard Thompson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Queen
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Glee Cast
  • Boho Dance–Bjork
  • Boll Weevil–The Presidents of the United States
  • Bombay–Timbaland
  • Bombers Bay–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Bone Broke–The White Stripes
  • Bones–The Killers
  • Bonfire–Childish Gambino
  • Bonny [live]–AC/DC
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • The Boogie Monster–Gnarls Barkley
  • Book of Dreams–Suzanne Vega
  • Book of Dreams–Dion
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Bookhouse Boys–Angelo Badalamenti
  • Boom Boom Pow–Black Eyed Peas
  • Boom Box–The Lonely Island
  • Bootleg [live]–John Fogerty
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–The Airborne Toxic Event
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–Bob Dylan
  • Booyaka 619–P.O.D.
  • Bop to The Top–Sharpay & Ryan (High School Musical Cast)
  • Border Song–Elton John
  • Borderline–Alison Krauss
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline/Open Your Heart–Madonna

We all have out guilty pleasure music/tv/movies, and in the first category, I would list “Miami Sound Machine”. While I don’t own the band’s complete catalogue, I do enjoy almost everything off Primative Love, with one song in particular (which I will discuss in deeper detail when I get to it) holding a special place in my heart. Speaking of Gloria Estefan, she popped up on the season finale of Glee that I mentioned earlier (I promise I was only watching in passing!). For a woman looking to celebrate her 55th birthday this year, she looks great. She could be described as either a “bonnie” or a “belle” so she hit two-thirds of the Richard Thompson song title that followed–I would not describe her as “bogie” so she’s not the trifecta.

The defining song of Queen came next, one that gets a pop culture revival every few years. It shouldn’t need it, as with its shifting styles and tempos and grand feel, the song is a must-own for everyone. But thanks to Wayne’s World, Rock Band 3, and Glee, the song has seen popularity boosts in the last few decades (with the first being the largest boost). But man, it is a long song, and I got to hear it twice–although the Glee version doesn’t hold a candle to the original of course. Going from a Freddy Mercury song to a Bjork seems like a fairly natural transition, even if the latter’s contribution is only a tribute to Joni Mitchell.

I remember from history classes that boll weevils were a blight upon the cotton growing industry, but thanks to POTUS, they can be a blight on my musical lists as well! (Only kidding, the song, like most Presidents of the United States selections, is a fun rocking tune.) Speaking of fun, “Bombay” is probably my favorite Timbaland song. I love the exotic music mixed with his beats. Now in their song, Echo & The Bunnymen travel quite a bit, but I’m not entirely sure where “Bomber’s Bay” is located, but if we cut out the ‘ber’s ‘ in the middle, it could be Bombay as well. I’d like to visit Bombay (or Bomber’s Bay) some time, but at this point in my life, extensive travel is not on the menu. I won’t say that I’m “Bone Broke” despite the fact that it would be an awesome transition to the next song on the list. The song is another reminder that I’d like to pick up the new Jack White solo album as I’ve heard a couple of the tracks on the radio and have enjoyed them. The anatomy lesson continued with the Killers “Bones”, another excellent track from their Sam’s Town album. I then got a Childish Gambino track “Bonfire”. I know I’ve said that I’m still trying to figure out whether I like his CD, but “Bonfire” is great, and it’s received some repeat listens from me recently.

The next three tracks passed quickly, as they were all effectively transitional songs from albums. “Bonny” was from an AC/DC performance in Scotland–the band treated it as an instrumental, but the fans provide the vocals. It’s a pretty cool demonstration of the power a large crowd can have when united to accomplish something, even something as simple as a song.  That was followed by two tracks with the same “Bonus” name from the debut album of Johnny Socko. When things returned to normal songs, I heard my first Gnarls Barkley song on this list, “The Boogie Monster”. My wife recently joked that if I ever passed away, she’d consider having an affair with Billy Bragg’s voice. I think she’d also consider the voice of Cee-Lo Green as well, as she loves his dulcet tones. I do as well, but I wouldn’t go that far.

Time to head to the library as I got two “Book of Dreams” releases, first by Suzanne Vega, which I enjoyed more, with the second being a Dion cover of a Bruce Springsteen song from “Lucky Town”, one of the rare Bruce Springsteen albums we don’t own–so we get the cover but not the original. Things stay bookish but get transitional again with the “Bookends” themes from Simon & Garfunkel that opened and closed side one of their same-titled album. The first is instrumental and the second has a small amount of lyrics. The last volume of my “Book…” collection is an instrumental piece from the television program Twin Peaks. Like much of the soundtrack album, “The Bookhouse Boys” is such a unique piece that it immediately puts me back to when I was in college and each new episode was an event. It’s too bad that cable networks didn’t exist then, as I believe an HBO or AMC could have given Lynch the time and  creative freedom to make Twin Peaks last five seasons.

Despite their lackluster Super Bowl halftime performance, I continue to be a big Black Eyed Peas fan, and will mix tracks in from The E.N.D. in any and all playlists. I’ve heard people complain that the group was overexposed on radio, but where I don’t listen to radio and instead choose my own tracks, I didn’t have to suffer through that issue. The Peas were followed by another monster rap-influenced group, the Lonely Island. Their “Boom Box” track, like most of their songs, has a great beat and hilarious lyrics, particularly their obsession with boiled goose throughout the number.

John Fogerty was the last song before a pseudo-Spanish run began, starting with two versions of “Boots of Spanish Leather”, first a cover by the Airborne Toxic Event and then the original by Bob Dylan. Listening to the song, it seems like the title should be “Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather” but Bob didn’t want redundancy in the title even if it’s in the lyrics. I guess I should just be thankful it’s not called “Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather”. P.O.D.’s theme song for Rey Mysterio keeps the Hispanic flavor coming, but then the cast of High School Musical really stretch things with the two whitest kids in the cast singing a song with lots of Spanish words and phrases. Perhaps they learned them from the household help.

I knew the list was coming to an end as I reached the border.  Elton John gave me the first clue before I reached the “Borderline”. Of course when I hear that title, I automatically assumed it was the Madonna version, but first I got a different song with the same title from Allison Krauss. I don’t remember the song, but I really enjoyed it. I then got the “Borderline” I first remembered, with two versions actually, one from her debut self-titled album and one from a greatest hits collection. Things closed with a “Borderline” mash-up with “Open Your Heart” from the Madonna-themed episode of Glee, which I feel was the strongest themed episode of the show.

 

 

Killing two birds with one lawnmower

Getting to the gym yesterday proved to be impossible, so I had to improvise my music exercise time. My back yard needed some mowing, and seeing that it was the first mow of the season and about two weeks later than it should have happened, it was, in addition to plenty of walking, a solid upper-body workout as well.

(By the way, I was trying to play off the old “killing two birds with one stone” saying in my title, but we do live in a hysterical and overly sensitive time so I probably should specifically state that no birds were harmed with my lawnmower, although I did bother a neighborhood cat that was hoping to lounge in the tall grass of my back yard and was forced to move when I started the mower.)

April 30, 2012

Walking behind a mower

  • Below the Beams–Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  • Bennie and the Jets–Elton John
  • The Best Damn Thing–Avril Lavigne
  • The Best Day–Taylor Swift
  • Best in Me–???
  • The Best is Yet to Come–Frank Sinatra
  • The Best of Both Worlds–Hannah Montana
  • The Best of Everything–Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers

“Below the Beams” is a short number by Grace Potter, but it’s still highly enjoyable. I only own the one album by her, but listening to it makes me want to get more. The only problem is that I’ve got about 20 artists in that bucket, plus new artists that I’d like to sample as well.  I’d say that my music collection is like a shark–it needs to keep moving forward or it will die, but that would give short shrift to the classic artists, like Elton John who followed next with one of his great 70’s hits.

Three of my next five songs come from pop princesses of different styles, starting with the punk pop of Avril Lavigne. I must say she writes catchy tunes with excellent hooks  and I find myself adding more and more of her work to my personal playlist. The country-tinged song “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift  is enough to move any parent to tears as Swift sings about her love of her parents (her mother in particular) as a child. The last girl power entry is the theme to the Disney program Hannah Montana, “The Best of Both Worlds” sung by Hannah Montana, who we later learned was Miley Cryus in a shocking twist.

I love to play the “who is this” game when I get a song without an artist listed, but for now “Best in Me” has me stumped. Online, the most famous song with this title (no ‘the’ at the beginning) is by an artist named Blue, and while Blue’s my boy, I don’t think he is the winner here. I will report later after I consult with my kids. There’s something so right about hearing a Frank Sinatra song from time to time, and I’d actually say the same about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as well.